In 1988, Ridge and Robanne Burns stepped out in faith to create an organization that would focus on building bridges from the suburbs to the urban centers in the United States. The focus is on giving youth groups and churches a life changing short term urban experience.  “Center For Student Missions” started in Los Angeles and shortly expanded to Washington DC and Chicago.

Our first group was military dependents from Travis Air Force Base in Sacramento.  Because of our partnership with Youth Specialties and Azusa Pacific University’s Mexico Outreach Program, the ministry quickly grew into the leading short-term urban program. In 2017, we changed our name to “City Service Mission.”  In the 31 years of existence, our ministry has been led by Ridge Burns, Noel Becchetti, Dan Reeve, and currently, Don Ballard.


We help you experience a city.
Living firsthand among the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of urban life is an irreplaceable experience. Our housing is located in the heart of their respective city, providing you with the opportunity to eat at local international restaurants and discover the delights of Salvadorian, Middle Eastern, Filipino, African–American, and other cuisine.

We help you learn a city.
There are unique issues and problems that each city faces. There are also unique and incredible things God is doing to foster and further His Kingdom in each city, through the indigenous organizations that operate on the front lines of urban ministry. You’ll learn what city dwellers face, and how to overcome challenging circumstances.

We help you help a city.
By offering your time, energy, and prayers, ministry sites are supported and built up to their full potential of service. You will be integrated into a variety of hands-on ministry opportunities to ensure that your time is spent supplying substantive help to God’s people in the city.


To provide an effective urban ministry experience that transforms lives, influences churches and communities, and honors Christ.


We envision an urban missions movement: a generation of God’s people equipped to lead, compelled to serve, and committed for a lifetime to the often-forgotten in their communities.


The staff at CSM are committed to serve God’s people in the city and help other to serve.



We conduct ourselves at all times as ambassadors of Jesus Christ.
We value our staff by training, developing, supporting, and recognizing them.
We provide authentic benefit to the serving group participants.
We provide authentic benefit to the urban ministries we serve.
We raise funds with integrity and utilize the financial resources entrusted to us responsibly.
Click here for a downloadable pdf of our statement of faith.


Transparency is a high value at CSM and we invite you to review the chart below to see our financial distributions. We can’t thank our supporters enough for enabling us to invest in so many cities and lives. Our team is filled with gratitude over your ongoing commitment and investment into urban missions.

Investments into lives will return limitless benefits to students, families, churches, communities, and our world.